MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When Neal Brown became the head coach at WVU, he coined a new mantra for the football program: Trust the Climb.
In the rushing department, WVU has clearly made major gains, but the team’s second-year head coach said Tuesday that the climb isn’t yet complete.
Last year, WVU produced one of the worst rushing offenses in the FBS, but through just eight games in a pandemic-shortened season, the Mountaineers have already exceeded that dismal rushing total from 2019 by netting 1,255 rushing yards. West Virginia averages 156.9 rushing yards per game this season, more than doubling its rushing average of 73.4 yards per game from the 2019 campaign.
“We’ve put a huge emphasis on it, and I think that work has paid off,” Brown said.
Junior running back Leddie Brown has accounted for roughly three-fourths of West Virginia’s rushing output this fall, and he currently ranks No. 3 in the nation in yards on the ground with 897.
But even though the Mountaineers have improved in this category, they still rank in the middle of the pack in the Big 12 in rushing. That’s why, Brown said, there’s still more work to do.
“I thought that we would make significant gains, which we have. I think to be at a championship level, we’ve got to continue that improvement,” Neal Brown said. “We’re not — and you can look at the statistics right now — we’re not at a championship level of running the football, but we are much improved.”
The Mountaineers have been dedicated to fixing their run game woes since last December, and Brown said they’ll stay committed.
“We’ve still got work to do to take it to the next level,” Brown said.
WVU is in the midst of its final open week of the regular season. It hosts Oklahoma on Nov. 28.